COVID May Have Just Killed Church Attendance

( )- COVID may have killed church attendance, a new poll by Lifeway Research shows. Even after the COVID lockdowns which forced churches to close their doors and institute online services, it appears that churches are finding it hard to go back to their pre-pandemic numbers, according to a report from The Daily Wire.

The survey, released earlier this November, was conducted among 1,000 Protestant pastors in September. The survey found that while churches have struggled to go back to pre-pandemic numbers, the majority of churches have, in fact, returned to in-person worship, although worshippers did not reappear as fast as masks disappeared, according to Lifeway Research executive director Scott McConnell.

At the start of the pandemic in April 2020, most churches were shut down, with only around 10% meeting in person. Since then, nearly 100% of churches met in person in August 2022, representing a 75% increase from July 2020 and a 98% increase since August 2021. But as church doors remain open, churchgoers are not present to fill the seats.

Attendance is currently sitting at the highest record it has been in the last two years, back up to 85% than what it was in January 2020, just before lockdowns began. That is up from 73% in August 2021 and a low of 60% in January of last year.

The responses vary based on the pastors’ age. Those 65 and older were more likely to report that the church’s average attendance was 30 to 50% of January 2020 levels compared to those between 18 and 44 years old who reported 8% and those 45-55 who reported 9%. In other words, the survey suggests that the older a pastor is, the higher the church attendance.

Region also played a crucial role in determining varying attendance rates. Pastors in the Midwest and the South reported higher levels than those in the Northeast. Baptists, Pentecostals, and Non-Denominational pastors were more likely than Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterian/Reformed, and Christian/Church of Christ pastors to report higher levels of attendance levels when compared to January 2020.